Bill Belichick has a small number of confidants outside of the New England Patriots organization. University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban is one. Former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly are two more. Bon Jovi is another, probably.
But former Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson is one that doesn’t gain much attention, despite his strong status in coaching circles. Belichick and Johnson go on fishing trips down in Florida where the two discuss football tactics and team management, according to Patriots.com’s Don Banks.
"Obviously people know I love to fish and I'll have a cold beverage every now and then," Johnson said [to Banks], chuckling at his own understatement. "But I was always almost amused at Bill, that he'd always come down there with an agenda.”
Johnson says that Belichick would ask about evaluating offensive linemen, or contract negotiations, or how to manage different personalities. Belichick’s never-ending thirst for knowledge and quest for perfection is what leads Johnson to make a strong declaration.
"He's the best ever, and I made that statement before [Super Bowl LI], but I also made that statement a year ago and two years ago," Johnson said. "It's not something I just recently decided. Having watched Bill over the years, it goes all the way back to Cleveland, when we first met and built a relationship.
"He covers all the bases. He's very thorough. He approaches the job in a way that every coach should envy. And one thing about his teams, they're always better prepared than their opponents. And that's because of him."
Belichick is easily the best head coach in the NFL, even if he won’t win the Coach of the Year award, and he runs the best organization in football. Many want to emulate the Patriots program, but few have the breadth and depth of knowledge that Belichick possesses and the willingness to deviate from expectations and the status quo. That’s why Belichick always remains a step ahead of the competition.
Banks has a great interview with Johnson with some fun tidbits about Belichick’s team building strategy. Check out the interview between Banks and Johnson here.